Archive for February, 2019

Apollo’s Girl

February 19, 2019

Music

Another Opening…
suor angelicaAfter coping with a two-year cloud of construction, shuttered bus stops and a quirky online calendar, the Manhattan School of Music celebrated its centennial by opening the doors of Neidorff-Karpati Hall. With new lighting, décor and – best of all – a new entrance direct from Claremont Avenue, MSM’s Opera Theater mounted a double bill: the rarely seen I Due Timidi (by Nino Rota) and Puccini’s Suor Angelica. The Rota was originally conceived as a radio performance (yes, Italy’s national media still actually broadcasts classical music) in 1950. The composer is best remembered for his movie scores for Fellini and others; his librettist (Suso Cecchi D’Amico) known for her script for The Bicycle Thief and work on almost a hundred other films. With a story of thwarted love, it followed the guidelines for many Italian operas and had a limited afterlife on European stages.

Suor Angelica, on the other hand. though first presented in New York in 1918 as part of Puccini’s trilogy, has remained beloved to this day. Running under an hour and delivering intense emotion from the first few measures, it demands the art and craft of a powerful singer/actress who is onstage almost continuously. In MSM’s version, directed by Donna Vaughn (MSM’s Artistic Director of Opera and a national treasure), Sasha Gutierrez delivered the voice, the movement and the wrenching tragedy to pin you to your seat.

NB: With its revamped main stage, other production spaces and streaming master classes, MSM provides Upper Manhattan with a welcome magnet for live music. Even better: it is so far adhering to four performances and double casting of its staged offerings – a boon to its artists who flourish in the light. https://www.msmnyc.edu/msm-performances/

A Joyful Noise: Heads Up
musical instrumentsAfter years of neglect by the millions seeking blockbuster exhibitions, the Met Museum fixed its gaze on the André Mertens galleries for musical instruments and showered its glories with a makeover. The walk-through at the press opening was shared by three curators glowing with delight at what they had wrought. What a transformation! This was no silent history; they had managed to translate the contexts and sounds into visual arrangements that reached out to impart joy. The first vitrine gave it away: it was titled Fanfare, with brasses, conchs, pre-Colombian pottery, and mention of the Golden Ratio of the conch prized by later makers of brass instruments seeking to imitate the notes of its scales. History and politics were everywhere marked by treasures meant to be blown, bowed, plucked, beaten. The range? From carved ivory elephants (“Patience: If we wait, the British will leave.”) to a Stuart Davis 1939 mural for WNYC’s Studio B.

Now you will be doubly rewarded. In March and April there will be three concerts adding to the mix; two in Grace Rainey Rogers auditorium, and the third ( on April 6) by Juilliard 415 moving through multiple galleries like historical performance pied pipers. Follow that theorbo!
April 6, 2016;  6 – 8 PM. Free with museum admission.

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